Dungarpur is going to have the first locally-owned Solar Module Manufacturing Plant. The unit would come into operation soon which would be fully owned and operated by tribal women. The ambitious project aims to provide employment to 30,000 women. The foundation stone laying programme for the factory was organized on Thursday.
The plant is a joint venture of the state government, IIT-Bombay and Rajeevika which will manufacture solar products ranging from 1 to 300 watts. The plant will have a capacity to harvest up to 2 megawatt of solar energy. “An expenditure of one crore rupees is estimated on the plant, a corpus amount exceeding 24 lakhs was collected for set up of the manufacturing plant by local women. We helped them in providing land and ensuring regulatory support,” Dungarpur collector Surendra Singh Solanki told TOI.
Additional funds were provided by Idea Cellular and the plant is expected to be operation within four to five months. IIT Bombay will be providing hand holding support to the community till they become capable of technical and business operations. The women folk and the ladies from SHG who had toiled to raise the corpus amount are elevated about the prospects when they would be owning their own company and be their boss. Being from the backward area that they belong to, it has been much more difficult for them to bridge this gap from being unemployed semi-literates to become first class Solar Entreprenurs.
This was a unique initiative that empowered local women, from a tribal and one of the most backward blocks of Rajasthan, to earn their livelihoods by becoming solar entrepreneurs and a roaring success for Rajeevika entrusted with the task of generating livelihoods.
Last year, the district administration invited IIT Bombay to start its program of solar study lamp distribution (Project Million SoUL) in remote areas of the district by forming partnership with cluster level federations (CLFs) of Rajeevika (Rajasthan Grameen Ajeevika Vikas Parishad). The MOU was signed in May 2015. The lamps in Dungarpur were subsidised by funds from Idea Cellular CSR to make them affordable for all. The initiative focused on local development of solar enterprise, for which 150 women self help group (SHG) members from CLFs were trained and mentored to locally assemble and sell the lamps.
Later a team of 500 women joined the band and made a record profit of Rs 32 lakh by marketing 40,000 solar lamps in just six months. This The most important part of the project was that local women were trained to provide repair and maintenance to the lamps by setting up solar shops so that regular maintenance was available for these lamps.